#Kidlit Rosa’s Animals: Biography of Rosa Bonheur

Today let’s highlight a middle grade marvel, Rosa’s Animals:  The Story of Rosa Bonheur and Her Painting Menagerie by Maryann Macdonald.

Rosa’s Animals by Maryann Macdonald

Have you ever heard of Rosa Bonheur? She was a Realist painter and sculptor from France in the mid 1800s known for her dynamic paintings of animals.  Trained by her father at a time when women were not encouraged to be painters, Rosa broke with convention to become a popular and revered artist.

The illustrations include paintings not only by Rosa Bonheur, but also some of her contemporaries to show context for her work. The backmatter is quite extensive, consisting of an author’s note and references.

I don’t know how I missed Rosa’s Animals because it got starred reviews in all the right places when it first came out. If you’ve overlooked it too, perhaps now is the time to seek out a copy.

Activity Suggestion:

Rosa is known for her amazing ability to paint realistic fur and also her use of light. She is a good artist to introduce to middle grade students. Find some images of Rosa Bonheur’s works on the internet to share and discuss. (WikiArt has a collection). Encourage students to try their hand at drawing and painting animals.


Public domain image of a Rosa Bonheur painting from Wikimedia.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (June 5, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1419728504
ISBN-13: 978-1419728501

Disclosure: The book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.


Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

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